My Heartland – excellent forum on The Sisters Of mercy here
The Sisters Of Mercy tour Europe in September with the Membranes
These are mean and desperate times.
Meaner and more desperate than any I can remember.
The gods have taken Bowie, Lemmy, Alan Vega and Lemmy from us and put Donald Trump into the White House which in the context of a conversation with Andrew Eldritch is very apt as the enigmatic Sisters singer operates somewhere in between the four great lost singers and has promised to release a long awaited Sisters album if the later got into power as some sort of dark protest at the ridiculousness of it all. Meanwhile great slabs of Sisters music like I Have Slept With All The Girls In Berlin, Crash and Burn and Still have remained trapped in a weird digital ether – audible on bootlegs or fuzzy youtube clips with their magic frustratingly just out of reach.
I’m talking to the highly intelligent and mysterious figure behind The Sisters Of Mercy whose band’s dark songs and swirling mystery were both intoxicating and ground breaking when they emerged in the Reagan era and still retain that power to this day.
The band themselves may not be anthemic political but Eldritch himself has always been a political animal on the side and as we speak on the night before the Trump victory is not looking forward to watching the showbiz debacle of the American election. Arming himself with strong drink and preparing to enter the electoral abyss he has threatened to release the long awaited Sisters album if Trump gets in – but even this seismic and terrifying event probably still won’t see the release of these songs that have existed for decades in the live and digital bootleg arena but stubbornly refuse to be committed to vinyl.
Eldtrich does not operate like any other.
Inspired by glam rock, forged by punk and spat out by post punk he comes from a no compromise time when bands were rewriting the copy book and operating under their own terms. The Sisters Of Mercy may deal with rock in a knowing way but they are also troops of the underground and are as much ground breakers as any of the more championed left field bands of the period. Their embracing of Motorhead and rock music in the middle of anti rock post punk era was as radical as any of their contemporaries hipster choices of influence and when they aligned these to a death disco and the stark, cold, hard digital pulse of a drum machine it was ground breaking – just ask Steve Albini who used them as a template for his mighty Big Black.
In one stroke The Sisters Of Mercy managed to somehow bridge the gap between Lemmy’s grinding snarl, Suicide’s spectral ghostly take on the Stooges and the cold precision of the new technology dancefloor. They also released a series of quite brilliant records that were marked by the singer’s captivating baritone, driving and deceptively simple bass lines where every note counted and chiming guitars that all hooked around the binary clatter of the drum machine.
In 2016 they tour endlessly whilst long term fans peer into the horizon waiting for the mythical new album after a two decade gap with the band’s frontman refusing to record and release in a stand off with the music industry. The wait is frustrating for the fans but somehow only adds to the mystery and mystique of the singer who seems to slip away into the shadows with ease – the introverted, high IQ, book reading Clark Kent who reinvented himself as the ultimate underground rock star – self creating himself at a time where the only limit was imagination.
The Sisters somehow managed to combine a minimalist intensity with a soundscape cinemascope – their songs sound huge and full of aching vistas. It’s a surprise that Eldtrich himself has never followed the root of one of his fans, Clint Mansell, into writing soundtrack but the lure of being in a band, even one as unconventional as this seems to remain strong.
In interview, though, he is is quite different from his personae, affable and talkative and very perceptive with a dash of dark humour and an element of myth making and sentences peppered with military expressions and a DIY defiance.
LTW: The Sisters Of Mercy have been surprisingly busy playing lots of festivals and big venues and his upcoming UK tour.
Eldtrich : ‘I prefer festivals to smaller gigs, maybe because the pressure is shared with the rest of the bill and it’s not all on my shoulders. Same with big gigs, in fact I always say to the support band, ‘go on as long as you want and play a long set’. That way they get to play a proper set as well and it’s not all one me! I always, when I used to support bands, hate the feeling that I can’t use these bigger amps and can’t be on stage for longer than thirty minutes…’
LTW: There is something curiously enthralling about your stage presence. An air of mystique…
Eldritch:: We used to do write songs to play gigs and make everyone happy. If I look miserable it’s maybe because my misery is the terror which turns into entertainment for people…’
LTW: Of course, if Donald Trump wins you know you will have to release your new album like you promised! There are, of course, new songs – you play them all the time but will they ever be released.
Eldritch: ‘They are what they are. We are not waiting for a record deal. I’m happy for this situation. What happens to those songs doesn’t matter if no label comes. On the upside it certainly means I don’t have to spend months in studios trying to pin down definitive versions of the songs. It can be disappointing – you can end up with something sang terribly because that’s the way it happened on the day when you recorded it. Or you worry about whether you should put a cowbell on it. And then the song sometimes ends up being like an albatross and you are still closing the set with it thirty years later. Of course we will play them for people if people pay ticket money and we don’t like to disappoint them greatly. I read something from Meatloaf where he says that he hates his hits but I don’t mind singing mine to be honest. If I had to pick 5 songs I liked some would be ones that have not been recorded yet because there is no pressure on me to sing them in a certain way and I can sing them with a degree of freedom, frankly I could do them reggae style tomorrow if I wanted to but I’m not going to.’
LTW: Will you ever record the new album?
Eldritch : ‘Recording a new album? it’s not top of my list things to do – frankly if it’s on my to do list then it’s beneath going to the next airport or packing my bags to tour. I just won’t get the down time. In fact I’m looking at my suitcase now. It never leaves my side… (laughs) – a pig and the company he chooses!’
LTW : Perhaps this album won’t ever get made because you are a perfectionist?
Eldritch : Yes and no. I certainly appreciate that I have a new appreciation of the size of the hurdles but it doesn’t mean that I feel that I have to jump them. I’m glad that not having record company machinations involved in it enables us to shake it up. I hate being trapped by that, ‘you invented a genre’ nonsense. If we want to be a rock n roll band we can be, we don’t feel that we have to be trapped.’
LTW : Maybe trapped by audience perceptions?
Eldritch : Well, this is a difficult day to answer a question about perceptions. This is American election day and the only thing that will get me through is a bottle of tequila and think about people’s perceptions. Looking at this election it seems that some people – perhaps 40 per cent of them – are a bit dim and there is nothing much you can do about that.
And with recording the album because of Trump, I’d have to say I would be so angry that there would be a huge orange shadow in the white house if he did win. I can’t see any way around it. The more oblivating and nastier he is, the more successful he becomes. He brings out the worst in people and he also brings out the worst in me because I cannot agree with what he says and his very evil clown presence. I’m enraged just with the fact that half of America will vote for this buffoon, this racist oblivating prick.
After 8 years of Obama they go for Trump?! I personally think Obama was an elegant, gracious, funny fellow if American can throw up that kind of candidate then why not more? Hillary is supremely qualified and supremely competent you may not like her but she is not the orange buffoon.
I read article on an American political website to elevate my mood that said there are six kinds of ugly American and Donald Trump is all of them. I don’t want to do this to America I have so much love about America and American culture.
LTW: It feels like most rock n roll has become of the right – that Trump is, in a weird way, the first rock n roll president and represents the worst excesses of our culture.
Eldritch : The evil clowns..but when you think about it, though, they only got Ted Nugent…These are dangerous times. It’s too tribal. The rise of Trump reminds me of the rise of Mussolini…Fuck you Ted Nugent
LTW: Are you creating your own world
Eldritch : As much as I am a huge fan of science fiction I was in a band when every other person was in a band maybe because of the cold war and we didn’t expect to live for long. We didn’t expect employment because half of us had no skills and the other half didn’t know how to apply the skills that we had and we reacted to the world because it weighed heavily on us. I’m not of the current generation that takes photographs of itself every two minutes or Instagram their breakfast…
Bands and music changed me. All I have ever done is be in a band. Like most people of my generation I was not so much changed but enabled by David Bowie doing Starman on Top Of The Pops but I was not enabled to be be the president or a politician. It was unbelievable to see Starman on Top Of The Pops and there was nothing else I can do. I am committed to a life sentence of rockery…’
LTW : Do you feel out of step with mainstream culture?
Eldritch : Often the times don’t matter. You just represent you with your world view. Most songs are just boy meet girl whilst with our songs it’s true there are also a lot of boy meets girl but someone got stabbed. Our songs are set in a wider world I think. We definitely project on a world view that is invariably mine. I’m guessing my boy meet girl experiences have all been influenced by the wide world. Some people live in a much smaller world and they can’t see beyond someone getting pregnant and wanting a mortgage and they have never been in my world…
In this cold war every band has a projection that has not projected very far.
LTW : Was there a masterplan ?
Eldritch : With The Sisters Of Mercy there was no plan. We would certainly have done it differently if it had been done properly. I would probably be like the person from the Darkness or Freddie Mercury and more confident and more flamboyant and also written less words in the songs because it’s hard to sing too many words. I would have written songs like Depeche Mode do and go ‘ah huh’ every now and then to make it easier for myself.
I wish every time that I go on stage how much easier I could have made this. I think how many words do I have to sing on stage tonight and it’s too many!. Temple Of Love is imposable to take a breath in and every time I sing to the end of the second chorus it feels utterly impossible.
I’ve never been interested in writing prose.
There are few where I have painted such a complete and engaging picture with very few strokes of the palate knife. Those ones that come at you and you wake up and jot a few words down. Everyone has got their different ways of working.
The songs I am proudest of paint the most complete picture in the fewest strokes of the plaster knife. When we collected a slew of lyrics and put them out in a book of postcards, the best lyrics were when it was akin to writing a well drafted postcard,. People sometimes say, ‘Von, why do you hate twitter if you like using minimal lyrics’ but I think that twitter is too short. Like I say, I’ve never been tempted to write prose. I’m probably frightened by prose, people who write rock n roll and punk rock are particularly utterly inept and can still be great.
LTW: You do a few instrumentals – is this the ultimate in lyrical minimalism!
Eldritch : I’m very fond of instrumentals. I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter. He paints a similarly engaging and complete world view with his very few strokes of his palate knife. With his best use of music some of instruments are really effective.
LTW: Those sparse filmscores are something you touched on with Reptile House which sounds like a stark soundtrack to a film that never got made to me. Why don’t you move into writing sound track and film scores?
Eldritch : I do lot of stuff like that when I’m noodling at home. Now and then people come to me from the film world and ask for some music but they seem to have no idea of who you are really are. They ask to put music over the credits in a film and I say ’no’. One time someone came to me and said there is a major scene in a film with these guys in a car driving down a boulevard with them singing one of your songs whilst that happens and I was, ‘well ok’ and I asked for the script and I thought that this is a fucking terrible film. It turned out that is was the scene in Wayne’s World where they are singing Bohemian Rhapsody and originally they wanted This Corrosion!
But for me a bunch of American morons singing my song in a Japanese car is not an exact reflection of what the song was about!
With sound track, there is Graeme Revell (former SPK man) who is good but I don’t think that music is instinctive for me. I’m not sure I can do that. even my instrumentals don’t work in that way.
LTW : Do you prefer being in a band to working in isolation?
Eldritch : Being in the Sisters I can do both. I can work for 6 weeks on three minutes of music and give it to the lads and say what are we going to do with it. I’m not sat at the back like a stupid drummer! when it’s a collaborative process and when something is going on it’s great and I have the power of veto if it’s not. It’s the power and responsibility of the fact that in 20 years time when I have to answer for this music! the rest of the band will have swanned off and be playing with the MC5 while I’m still going to be stood in front of the audience singing these songs.’
LTW : Do you have an awkward relationship with being on stage?
Eldritch : It’s the function of terror to make myself uncomfortable and with that, pull bits of myself out. I have to suppress the other bit of myself more to go on stage like a physical purist.
LTW : There has to be little terror in it…a little bit of terror is good for the soul!
Eldritch : I kind of enjoy it when I’m up there. There are good gigs and there are bad gigs and I hate bad gigs. I have to be in a slightly altered state of mind to get up there and have to bring out a forbidden planet being out unsociable. I stalk the place with this monstrous shadow that is much bigger than I am and that’s why I suppress my normal self.
LTW: You are quite an introverted person
Eldritch : Yes. I tended to be an introverted kid. I used to read a lot of books and it just turned out that way. I tend to be very introverted because I never had a normal job either. I never did warehouse or office work . I have never had to fit into a team. I believe in a team though and the current line up of the band is this kind of team. We obliviate ourselves into the whole and become this small sniper platoon.
LTW : I guess the drum machine has got its own funny little ways…
Eldtrich : Back when everyone was in bands and before everyone settled down a bit we did play with drummers and it was an awesomely annoying experience. Things like when you suggest something in rehearsal but you can’t get them to stop playing the drums.
LTW: You were a drummer once…
Eldtrich : I was a very bad drummer…
LTW : You are very much a product of the post punk times – when ideas were the currency and meant everything…
Eldritch: I think primitively. Musically, I have no musical training. I don’t do cover versions. It’s the same with Peter Hook – he can’t play any other songs at all and he has the best bass riffs other than mine. I was on stage with New Model Army playing Gimme Shelter recently and was a bit lost. When we played our version it was not a straight cover of the song, it was more about the song that was inside there and we brought ourselves to the party.’
LTW : And there were other covers you were famous for, other songs that you turned inside out like with Hot Chocolate.
Eldritch : Hot Chocolate’s ‘Emma’ ? I did that song to say to the press that here is a song, a song you would dismiss as a pop song that is as full of angst, suicide and darkness as anything we could do. In the press we were accused of being a goth band or a dark band, maybe because of my baritone. I remember that when I went to a meeting with the producer Mike Hedges, which seemed like a great idea at the time, because he was so good with great guitar sounds and drums and he said to me sing in the mid range but I just couldn’t and I still can’t sing in mid range.
There is still a huge opportunity with me in a world that no longer has Johnny Cash and no longer has anybody doing baritone torch songs. In that world I could be the new man in black. For the moment I can make a living nicely within limitations of it. TI’m happy to potter around with music that people would accept as Sisters music. I don’t try and write the great American novel and I have not being to film school so I have not made a film. I would find it hard to collaborate and to work with 200 people on a film set or indeed with the companies behind them. Rock n roll has enabled me to write music and write songs and because of it I have learned to be a graphic designer or a computer geek.
The band exists and it does not stop us doing what we want in our spare time. I like being in a band where every one believes in something better themselves. For the moment I’m not going to launch a full time career writing songs like Some Velvet Morning…
LTW: That’s a shame – I think that would be something we would really like to hear…Do you like working within the band’s parameters?
Eldtrich : Sometimes I made a Sisters record where no one else mentally and physically showed up and sometimes the line up put in a lot of input which I like. I like it when the lads and lasses in the band have been good enough to say that they can’t work with this bit or that bit and get involved. Musicians are a funny breed aren’t they? they have an innate misunderstanding of the relationship between power and responsibility, so some learn the easy way and some never learn at all. Some people are unilaterally irresponsible and are the only ones sad enough to do the same job. Most people in the real world don’t do one job for that long. We have done pretty well working in the Sisters – some people have gone off gone off to do better and some people have left and think that they hate me but in many ways it’s a mirror held up to them…
LTW : Wayne Hussey has been making conciliatory noises recently. How is your relationship with former members?
Eldritch : Usually people don’t make so much of it in the public eye. They can be much happier to bust up with someone in a band for a year but some of the parties are still living it.
LTW : Did you have the concept of the band first?
Eldritch : Yes, but I only had the concept of the Sisters as they are back in those days. We made a t shirt before we made a record. I didn’t perfect it very far forward. We only planned it up to the point that we were played on the radio and that was job done and then we wrote a couple of good songs and things started to find their own direction.
Before I moved to Leeds, the only time I had a band conversation at Oxford University was in the room of my Oxford best friend. The Psychedelic Furs first album had just come out and that pulled the rug from under our feet. That’s what it would have been if they had not done it. The punchline to it was that we can’t do that and neither can they do that and here is the first Furs album and it was everyone and everything you will want to be…’
LTW : And then when you moved to Leeds?
Eldritch : Leeds still is where I decided it should be instinctive. I’m not musically trained. It’s about what my fingers play rather than my brain. It could be my that my brain wants to be Mozart but it could never be Mozart. My first guitar had two strings on it. I couldn’t afford a guitar. That’s where Hooky and me are the same – we just played up and down on one string and wrote songs. Me and Hooky and done the same thing since then. I loved the Stooges and Suicide and found myself in a band.
With the two string guitar it required no musical training and it was easier to deal with that than the guitar. I remember whole days and whole nights on the floor of very sparsely furnished council houses hammering out our riffs on 2 string guitars and writing songs. Later on, Floodland was half written on keyboards after The Sisterhood ‘Gift’ album – the little side project that was written on keyboards and that became key.
I have to warn you that my music has become even more primitive now after I seriously damaged my elbow recently and I have no feeling in my my left hand.
LTW : You still write lots of new songs though and even play them live. Why even write new songs if they will never be released – is it a creative itch that has to be scratched?
Eldritch : I keep a guitar in bedroom but I don’t keep a recorder in the bedroom. Sometimes stuff comes to you and you have to play it out. I don’t feel the driving need to release stuff though. I’m introvert. I don’t feel the pressure of outside forces to open the window and play it to the world. I will do if convenient but I always find something else to do. There is always more strange Japanese films to watch of which I will not tell you the names of. The last one I watched is illegal to watch in the UK.
LTW : Are you the curator of your own museum?
Eldritch : I’m trying to give that part of it up and encourage the lads to get more involved. I’m more likely to say, ‘lets shake this song up a bit’ but they are more protective of it than I am. Maybe they fear my veto – the band hammer coming down on them! I pay lip service apart from having to keep it interesting for me and I’m actually keener on changing things than they are. I appreciate a bit more danger here.
Next year I will be shaking things up. I will be seriously shaking some shit up. This tour is the last hurrah for the way the songs are played. I’m super happy with the line up – I think it’s been a gloriously two dimensional rock n roll band for long enough. Part of me wants to be like Comsat Angels – what what we have lacked in recent time in our drive for permanent blitzkrieg is, maybe, elegance and space which is two words I would think of with Comsat Angles. It’s rock with elegance and space – think of a band who does rock and space and the first name you come up with would be Comsat Angels…’
LTW : Space is important in the sound…
Eldritch : The interesting problem I think is how to do it perfectly. You have to feel it to write a great song – using a keyboard helps. It makes a difference to write with keyboards in how some songs will work and some will not. I was recently listening to other people’s versions of our stuff and it was quite interesting to hear the songs without some of the blitzkrieg and having the songs stripped right down.
There was a lass on stage at a festival stage playing This Corrosion with just her and a piano, normally when people do our stuff they throw the kitchen sink at it. She seriously stripped it down right back to the basic melody without the few contra punk elements to bring out stuff in the woods that I didn’t dare to put to the front. The way this lass did it was haunting and heart wrenchingly, awfully beautifully. I’m not sure I could do that without bursting into tears. I sing very queitly, I don’t like booming and bellowing and I prefer to whisper close to the mic in a controlled environment.
LTW : People use volume to hide in? surely 11 out of 10 is good for the introverts!
Eldritch : The reason is that I’m the most introverted person you have ever meet. I have paraded myself right around the track belting out rock n roll and when I found myself at the other end of the hall I was left thinking ‘what have I done!’. I’m not some kind of Pearl Jam type singer climbing up the lighting gantry with no thought of getting down. If you go on our website there is a page that doesn’t actually exist properly but is there and it describes a very similar scenario – it’s a comment on a metaphor for the strange contrast that is rock climbing and you can’t climb back down again.
When I’m not touring I’m big into sunshine and I tend to fruit trees and play with cats. When I’m not in Leeds that’s what I do. I do like being grounded in Leeds but it’s increasingly awful living there.
When I grew up my father was stationed all over the world. He was posted to so many places and I went to so many different schools. It makes you every adaptable and very mobile and I’m happy with that right now making coffee in plastic cups in dressing rooms and airports. I’ve got china in the cupboard but I never use it…
LTW : So the touring is a continuation of this?
Eldritch : It’s so draining and humiliating but glamorous and fun – I’m going foreign country! I’m in some glitzed abattoir playing a show…
LTW : Socially, economically politically – these are not good times to stick your head above the parapet…
Eldritch : When I travel with the band I keep a bullet proof vest in my bag mainly for the fear of irrational imaginary enraged boyfriends of someone getting revenge but sometimes in America people disagree with your politics – occasionally we get bomb threats from people who ring the cops.
One time someone rang us and said someone will bomb you tonight. We were playing Disneyland which is better protected than White House so they sent the dogs round and found nothing of course. A similar situation occurred in Detroit a few days before. It doesn’t happen to me much, it’s more of a bottle in the face from an enraged ex boyfriend and, here is a scoop, why have I got three eyelids? it came from a similar incident.
Tim who used to play guitar with us is from Huddersfield and someone went up to him in pub and said ‘you’re in that band…’ and went for him not because he was in the Sisters but because he had the temerity to be in a band which, after Thatcher and the cold war being in band was seeing as being uppity. It’s that same build them build up and chop them down syndrome which is well reflected in the current proliferation of talent shows but on those shows those people volunteered for it whereas Tim never asked to be bottled.
LTW : It feels like the late Seventies being rerun but worse!
Eldritch : The youth had common purpose then not defined gave us. We were still living in punk . I’m so lucky to live actually in the right time and right age as a white heterosexual male the world opened to me to follow those urges, people like me were enabled by Starman.
LTW: Did you like the rest of glam
Eldritch : Sorry but the guitar player in Mud was great. I have listened to all the filler tracks on the Slade album and they are great, they almost sound like Motorhead who had the extra genius and were doing takes and getting songs down fast. With Motorhead it was that genius of stick to your guns, the sheer bloody minded perseverance of refusing, the sheer genius of Ramones, Motorhead, the sheer genius of being Alan Vega of being that long without flinching. Like Lemmy, I don’t think Keef ever swayed from the programme either whereas Mick certainly swayed.
LTW : Did Punk rock affect you initially?
Eldtrich: I was a few years late to the party. I was second generation. I was so impressed back in those days – culture moved fast, now its takes two years for a new generation – back then there was a new genre every couple of weeks and we all embraced everything. We would go off to gigs and play with Aswad, Blancmange or Alien Sex Fiend at weekend and noone batted an eyelid.
LTW : Joy Division ?
Eldritch : ‘I never saw them and if I did I don’t remember it but I loved the first album. I had their poster on the wall. We were not to the side of Joy Division. We came from same place as them. We were from the same place with the Stooges, Hawkwind and Suicide as the background and from a similar part of the world with similar pressures on us and it was kind of natural that we came up with something vaguely similar emitting the moody vibe. There were whole swathes of the country were making that kind of sound – the Sisters called it the M62 sound because of the motorway that connected us to Teardrop Explodes, Comsat Angels and all the other bands that we grew up with… That part of the country is narrow and we were on the same trains and buses and we were connected.
LTW : One of the key difference though was that the post punk period saw rock embraced in Leeds unlike the rest of the country…
Eldritch : There was a moment there between first and second generation punk when anything to do with rockism was frowned upon and that’s why we played Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter. I was the one with the shoulder length red hair and I was the one who took over from the DJ when she went for a break and I would put on Gary Glitter or rock records.
At the time I remember seeing the best gig I ever saw in my life which was Pere Ubu supported by the Human League on the tiny stage of the F Club in Leeds before Human League made it. At the time they had their screens up showing episodes of Thunderbirds on them. They did their version of ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ and it was hauntingly beautiful and achingly great and it can’t get any more trad than that. They reinvented music. Pere Ubu’s 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and Modern Dance – the first album also changed music though. Pere Ubu important to us in a lot of ways. We didn’t want to be Pere Ubu but I loved the way that the trained jazz musicians in the band didn’t play like jazz musicians right down to on the recordings. If I was a trained jazzo I think it would be hard to play like that, that simply, and the trained jazzo’s would stand behind David Thomas’s and do that, I mean it would not be hard to stand behind Elvis but David Thomas?
LTW : Your success in music has meant you can do everything apart from music!
Eldritch : Yes! I am not only the world’s greatest living Englishmen but I’m a very good European. Music has enabled me to live where I want. The success of certain songs has made it possible for me to live around Europe. Right up until Brexit I loved it here in the UK even though there is much I couldn’t get along with. Europe is my favourite continent. Outside the UK where I live I got a swimming pool and it’s sunny here. I have some free time to read a lot of books and watch strange and terrible films. To purge the election year I tried to watch the new Ghostbuster movie and it was terrible – absolutely amateur.
I’m trying to deal with the disappointment over Brexit maybe by relocating. I respect the wishes of the British people and feel that it’s hard for people to feel and and remember what it was like the seventies. Now we take it for granted the rights. I remember when I was a young man and I had gay friends and that considered radical but now we take it for granted and rightfully don’t see it as a problem at all.
England is now half spivs and half chavs – Brexit tipped me to leave for good. When I left for good before that it was with Thatcher. In the lyrics it was reflected enough when I was singing Vision Thing and I was so enraged by the Bush nonsense that I lost my self control and went very obvious.